Newbie Homage of Candor
I heard someone mention Burning Man a couple of years ago. "Ya," I thought, "that would be a blast, but where is it and what's it about?" I mean who wouldn't want to party like a rock star non-stop for one week without repercussion? That was all I knew about you, or that's what I thought I knew about you. It seemed like you were an enigma originating in some far away god forsaken unreachable place with lots of strung out wasted with no pot to piss in mother fuckers raving and destroying the environment making it a royal pain in the ass to have fun unless you were doing the same.
Fast forward to August 2013 a mere few of weeks before the largest temporary community ever, seeks to befall on that dry lake bed in a remote part of Nevada. I'm giddy with drink and excitement just being able to follow the news as this passionate procession makes its way to your abode. I realize I have nothing more to offer at this point than every other swinging dick that has never set foot on your playa, but I feel like there is something more inside of me. I surely don't possess any knowledge of what it means to be burner. Fuck, I haven't even heard mention of the 10 principles yet. I'm still floundering in the mindset that this is nothing more than a heavy metal after party, full every cross-section of humanity that grew up on the streets of a town similar to downtown Portland. Then came a realization that I don’t have a fuckin' clue what this is all about!
The "Twelve Step" Realization
Realizing I didn't have a clue was the best thing that could have happened to me at this point. What an awakening! I feel like I'm back in 1983 and in rehab; arriving at enlightenment with my higher power. I had to grasp the fact that I was powerless over this thing called Burning Man and that my life would remain unmanageable so long as I continued make attempts to define and put definition around this thing called Burning Man.
After coming to a resolve with my ignorance that's when things began to open up for me. I began to internalize that if I just quit trying to define Burning Man I could then begin understanding Burning Man. A power greater than me could restore my sanity if I kept myself out of the fuckin' way. That was the moment I decided to let go and let the Man dictate what He meant to me. Knowing full well the meaning isn't the same for everyone, or maybe it isn't the same for anyone. All I know is that I wasn't going to profess to define Burning Man any longer.
Just like those Twelve Steps programs I had to find a sponsor; someone who could guide me in this learning process and reconcile facts from myths and misconceptions. Not knowing a single person who had ever been to Burning Man left me without a strong pool of candidates to choose from. Not to worry, this is the 21st century I'm sure I could find a surrogate to fill this role. A few clicks later thanks to Google and some keywords I was inundated with a plethora of information. Unbeknownst to me I found my pseudo-sponsor on YouTube. I came across John 'Halcyon Lujah' Styn. This was someone who I could immediately connect with. He broke down for me what Burning Man wasn't and what it was for him. I haven't agreed with everything John has said, but I wouldn't with a tactile sponsor either. John was able to act as the conduit which allowed me to connect with what Burning Man was destined to mean for me. This was my first awareness of the 10 Principles of Burning Man. The video "Burning Man's Principles - Halcyon style."
There was immediacy in the collapse of my previous conceived notions of what Burning Man was. The hippie drug fest, full of sex and over indulgence was flat out misguided! That may remain what Burning Man is for some and so be it, that's there realization and I only need accept it. With every nugget of awakening I experience the realization for me is that it’s less and less about my initial notions and more and more about a 'Way of Life'.
My current awareness has me believing more and more Burning Man will in some manner become "The Way" for me. The Way is still a huge unknown and won't fully be realized or internalize until I have become a burner in the physical sense. One thing is certain Burning Man will redefine who and what I am and how I view my existence.
This Burgin journey has been incredible, it's not something anyone ever experiences twice. It's been filled with ecstasy and heartbreak. It's been full of moments utter exasperation and multiple incidents of something resembling bloodletting. I've been embarrassed at times about my exuberance and childish enthusiasm.
Any veteran burner can spot us. Burgins are the ones who want to conquer the playa and do everything. Yes, as a burgin we think we have the key to playa euphoria; we've got that one idea that has never been realized before. Oh ya, but it's the same idea that has been used every year since 1996. Ideas like blasting high power lasers across the playa, casting fractal images into the eyes of all participants, or conjuring up obscure bicycle contraptions, or masochistic latex reliefs of someone's body.
Burgin's have a wealth of energy that requires focus. Focus comes from experienced burners who recognize the burgin energy and their desire to make good on this "all for one" mentality.
Thank you to the burner who recognizes this enthusiasm and for guiding us on a productive path; creating an everlasting impression in the minds of all for another successful year at Black Rock City.
Thank you Burner for making my one and only virgin burn a success and thank you for transforming this Orphan into an experienced and veteran burner with a strong foundation in the 10 Principles and for creating someone who will carry on this tradition and legacy not only during that last week in August, but throughout every day of every year from now until my last dying breath.